Friday, May 21, 2010

The East African Com mon Currency and the Greek Cautionary Tale

Greek tragedies are eminent in world literature and now, they seem instructive for common currencies around the world. Advocates of an East African Common currency (who now include the IMF)should take pointers from Greece and the european union.
Greece's national debt is threatening to bring down the eurozone (and the rest of the global economy)analysts have already written eulogies for the euro. Harvards' Niall Ferguson has penned an article in he has entitled 'The End of the Euro'. Greece is reportedly in debt by as much as 15% of GDP.
It would seem that the British have, for now, been vindicated for passing up the euro in favour of the pound. The fear is that if of one of the common currency countries has a messy fiscal and economic policy then the economic impact will spread to other members like a cancer. That when in a common currency, its not enough to worry about your own books but your neighbour because he could unwittingly bring you down.
Greece has already accepted a billion-dollar IMF loan and a German-led rescue loan to save it from financial catastrophe which even its severly austere measures have not been able to cure in the short term.
For East Africans, its time to look at the downside of a common currency given the Greek lesson and to be cautious in fast tracking the East African common currency. All East African member countries have to be prudent economic policy managers and fiscal disciplinarians otherwise the sins of own will be borne by all. If Burundi, for instance, is grappling with a huge national deficit then this will impact on other East African common currency countries.
The Greek tragedy is a cautionary tale for East Africa's planned common currency.

No comments: